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Maureen O'Connor Loves Her Video Poker


Plenty of politicians like to gamble but the former mayor of San Diego is in a class all her own when it comes to hitting the casino.

Maureen O'Connor's former claim to fame was being the first female mayor of San Diego but now she'll be better known as the high stakes video poker junkie who lost more than $13 million from 2000-2009.

Her initial bankroll likely came from the estate of her late husband; O'Connor was married to Robert O. Peterson -- founder of the Jack in the Box restaurant chain -- from 1977 until his death in 1994.

O'Connor's gambling habit is coming to light due to charges that she dipped into funds designated for the R.P. Foundation that he set up, illegally using $2 million of the foundation's money to keep chasing royal flushes at video poker when all of her other money ran out.

She was in federal court to enter a deferred prosecution agreement in San Diego in which she admitted misappropriating the money and agreed to repay the foundation $2,088,000, pay back taxes that she owed, and seek treatment for her gambling addiction.

"Maureen O'Connor was a selfless public official who contributed much to the well-being of San Diego," U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy of San Diego said in a statement. "However, no figure, regardless of how much good they've done or how much they've given to charity, can escape criminal liability with impunity."

O'Connor gambled regularly in casinos in San Diego, Las Vegas, and Atlantic City; when things turned south she liquidated all of her savings, sold properties, and took out a third mortgage on the home she lived in.

When all that money was gone, she began siphoning money from the foundation she served as a trustee for. Complicating the case was the fact that she was unknowingly suffering from a brain tumor at the time, which she was later treated for; her legal team attributed much of her behavior to the tumor and prosecutors were willing to let her agree to a plea deal instead of prosecuting her as they normally would have.

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